“The next opening’s not ’til next Wednesday,” she said.
Hmmm. one whole week. That was longer than I wanted to wait. But I’d heard some good things about these guys. So I said, “Yeah. I take it!”
“Have you ever been to our salon?” the pleasant lady asked, exhibiting no signs of the crazy that was about to come.
“Oh…okay, we ask that our first-time guests pre-pay for their appointment. So, I’ll be glad to take your credit card number, charge the $35, and you’ll be set!”
As I searched for the right words to respond, she chimed in: “That’s our policy.”
“Really?! Cuz MY policy is to NOT do business with people who are from freakin’ Mars!” Is what I wish I’d said. Instead, I thanked her for her time, and quickly hang up. Some part of me longed for the days I had a landline. Cell phone hang ups are pretty damn wimpy.
I won’t be getting my hair cut there. It’s the principle. Which sucks. Because since moving back to Seattle, I’ve yet to find a salon or a stylist who can “get the job done.” Being a man with a “policy” isn’t making my life any easier.
But, c’mon! Pre-pay for a $35 hair cut? Are you serious? That’s like a restaurant taking your reservation for dinner next week, and then asking for the money up front. Doubtful anybody would go for that.
While we’re on the topic, here’s a partial list of other things I will not be paying for today. 1) Next week’s groceries. 2) Car repairs that I’ll need sometime in the next year. 3) Oxygen.
To be fair, that last one is free. Although I get the sense that this hair salon would try and charge for it, if they could.
And yes, I “get” what they’re doing. They want the money, in case you flake out on the appointment. So, let me get this right. I just called your business out-of-blue. And the first thing you want me to know is…that you’re already not sure if you trust me? Hey, that’s a great way to start a new business relationship!
Part of me has a (very) slight appreciation for this kind of arrogance. It must be nice in this tough economy to have sooooooo many customers that you can create hurdles to reduce the number of new clients. I mean, I guess that means they’re pretty good at what they do.
But the smart business person recognizes that success comes in cycles–sometimes you’re riding high, others times not so much. The goal should always be to turn your first impressions into lasting business.
check me out on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gregvalentine
Update 8/4/2011: When I wrote this post six months ago, I made the choice to not name the salon. I simply wanted to “state my case” about the absurdity of charging people for services to be performed in the future. I mean, I’m not asking you to build a house for me — for which you’d have to buy supplies and building materials. All I want is my hair cut. I’m pretty sure you already have some scissors. So, what’s the problem?!
Anyway, now that I’ve moved across town, I drive by these jackasses almost every day. I had come to peace with this. But now they’re in my face. The name of the joint is Valentine’s Men’s Grooming Salon. Their policy is if you’ve never been there before, you will have to pay for your hair cut when you make your appointment.
And yes, I originally called them because of the name “Valentine.” I would like to say it was for the “camaraderie” of our shared name. But it was probably vanity. I should be ashamed of myself. And I kinda am, lol.